Last fall, the fabulous and talented Amy Dickerson and I took a top secret trip to Santa Rosa, where we hung out with rockstar winemaker Kenny Likitprakong for a day in life of his harvest. The fruits of our labor (and his) are currently out—ours in print, his in bottles. What a thrill to spend a day with Kenny and his crew—his crew being comprised of a few hardworking wine folk including his wife Lynn and two darling girls. Side note: Lynn is not only an awesome mom and a huge part of Hobo Wine Co., but also has her own illustrious wine label as well—my kind of woman.
Kenny is churning out some of the best juice in the country right now. He makes food friendly wine (lip-smackingly fruit-driven, high acid wine) that speaks the language of its land at a price point that he says he feels comfortable personally buying wine at. He’s on the verge on what is sort of a new-ish trend here, great Somm-darling wine for a fair price, but has been the status quo in the Mother Country for centuries. In France, old world style wine that is more hands off than hands on, letting the grapes tell their own story, is readily available for a pretty reasonable price per bottle. Kenny did his due time apprenticing in the old world and learning the lay of that land before getting back to his own California roots to start up his vision.
Kenny is smart, quick-witted, and warm—the kind of guy you want to both follow on adventures and also just kick back with. He posseses that work-your-tail-off while still remaining laid-back quality that only Californians can pull off—teach me your ways oh wise people of The Golden State. In his daily life, the guy is a maniac, traversing the Northern California coast from Santa Cruz to Mendocino in his dusty pickup, sourcing grapes from various vineyards. He logs a lot of time on grape-clustered country roads returning each day to his Santa Rosa winery where he cares for his precious commodity. Three Cheers and a Cin Cin for Hobo Wine Co. What a thrill to spend a day with Kenny and his beautiful family. I’m a big fan. Huge.
Check out more on Kenny in the current issue of Modern Farmer.
Some of my current favorite Hobo releases:
Folk Machine Potter Valley Pinot Noir- we happily drank this beauty during an al fresco home-cooked dinner in the Hobo Winery. Maybe it was the company or the romance of the wine churning all around us— no, actually, this is just a really killer bottle. $24.99
Camp Cabernet Sauvignon 2014- a Sonoma-centric, chompy and chewy red. Great at your next BBQ. $18.00
Folk Machine Valdiguie- my go-to dinner party wine, a great label (looks great on the table- I know, I can’t help it, aesthetics are key) and even better blend. The fruit sings and the minerals and dirt dance- for real. $18.99
Folk Machine Parts & Labor- a longtime favorite and another perfect Cali. red blend. I used to buy this wine for a local wine market, it still sells out. Enough said. $14.99
Photo: Amy Dickerson for Modern Farmer